the 100 Greatest Performances Ignored by OSCAR

With all due respect to His Golden Baldness, the idol at whose polished feet we lay our annual bouquets: Oscar doesn’t always get it right. For every shoo-in (e.g., Tom Hanks in Philadelphia), there’s a deserving tour de force that gets overlooked (e.g., Denzel Washington in Philadelphia). And with every long-overdue make-good (e.g., Denzel Washington in Training Day), scores of up-and-comers (e.g., Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge) go unsung. Thus, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY proudly presents The Unnominated. Some — like Gillian Anderson’s nuanced turn in The House of Mirth — are relatively obscure, from movies too small to grab the Academy’s attention. But a great many of these performances are so essential to our cultural DNA that their exclusion from Club Oscar may shock you: How, for example, could Jimmy Stewart not have gotten a nod for Vertigo? How did they miss the star-and-title-character-all-in-one of Being John Malkovich? Fortunately, all of the above are available on DVD — though a handful on this list aren’t…shame on you, studios — so you can revisit these underlit corners of film history and then decide for yourself if Mighty, Myopic Oscar is indeed the final arbiter of excellence.


01 jimmy stewart VERTIGO

(1958, Universal) He made his childhood acting debut in a Boy Scout play. And for great swaths of his Hollywood career, James Stewart — better known to audiences as Jimmy, since he seemed so approachable — went right on playing Boy Scouts, wholesome, reasonable, aw-shucks kinds of fellows who stuttered and drawled and stood knock-kneed before the opposite sex. That’s probably why Stewart remains such a revelation as sick puppy Scottie Ferguson, the acrophobic, borderline-necrophilic detective in Alfred Hitchcock’s trailblazing study of sexual dysfunction. (Follow the straight line to Blue Velvet.) Stewart’s Scottie is sympathetic as he becomes attracted to an unfaithful wife he’s hired to tail. He’s moving when he witnesses her apparent death. He’s creepy when he finds another woman he wants to make over in his dead amour’s image. And he’s genuinely frightening when he discovers his love object may have betrayed him — all sweaty rants and shaking-hand-across-the-lip fury. It’s a thoroughly modern, adult performance. Nothing gee-whiz about it. Scout’s honor.